And they’re back. The Michigan baseball pitching staff helped lead the Wolverines to two victories over Michigan State in this weekend’s three-game series after disappointing losses to Minnesota last weekend.

In 8.1 innings of work, senior right-hander Brandon Sinnery allowed zero runs in Friday’s game. His relief pitcher, freshman right-hander Matt Ogden, did the same in his two-thirds innings of work, and Michigan picked up the 4-0 victory.

Saturday’s game went back and forth between the Spartans and the Wolverines, but finally ended with Michigan on top, 4-3. One of Michigan’s rising talents, freshman right-hander Trent Szkutnik, got the start for the Wolverines and allowed three runs (two earned) in five innings of work. Sophomore right-hander Alex Lakatos stepped in for the last four innings and held the Spartans scoreless.

After the series, Michigan coach Rich Maloney singled Szkutnik and Lakatos out for their work on the mound.

“Szkutnik looked really good, Alex Lakatos looked really good,” Maloney said.

Szkutnik was credited with Saturday’s win, putting him at two wins and one loss for the season.

Szkutnik and Lakatos both made appearances in unexpected places in Sunday’s game. Both pitchers played on the offensive side when the game went into extra innings and the benches thinned.

“I used every guy we had in this game,” Maloney said. “We even had to pinch hit Szkutnik who hasn’t even hit (this season), but we had no one left.”

Szkutnik hit in high school and had only a short amount of time to warm up in the batting cage before stepping up to the plate.

Maloney wasn’t far off when he said he used every guy he had in Sunday’s game. Five pitchers took the mound — junior right-hander Ben Ballantine, junior right-hander Kyle Clark, senior right-hander Kevin Vangheluwe, freshman right-hander Matt Ogden and redshirt freshman right-hander Jay Perry.

The Wolverines ultimately fell, 10-8, after four extra frames.

“I don’t think we were as sharp (Sunday),” Maloney said.

But the Wolverines played on and nearly swept the series. The pitchers all made positive contributions, especially some of the newer players on the team. The high run count on Sunday was inflated by five errors, which Maloney attributed to a combination of sunny skies and high winds.

“They’re a young team, and I’m liking the growth that I’m seeing,” Maloney said.

SINNERY SHINES: A standing ovation and roaring cheers marked the end of Sinnery’s performance in Friday’s baseball game against Michigan State. Recording all but two outs, he allowed no runs and picked up the win for Michigan.

Sinnery has won two games for Michigan this season and lost three.

Last Friday’s game against Minnesota was one of those losses, and it did not end with applause for Sinnery. In six innings of work, Sinnery allowed a total of six earned runs and nine hits. He was replaced by junior right-hander Kyle Clark, who didn’t allow a run in his two innings of relief pitching.

Michigan coach Rich Maloney was discouraged with Sinnery’s performance last week, so the fact that he let Sinnery start off the Michigan State series on the mound proves his confidence in Sinnery’s skill.

Sinnery has pitched 52.1 innings, 10 more than junior right-hander Ben Ballantine, who follows in highest number of innings pitched.

But Sinnery’s earned-run average, 4.30, is one of the worst on the team — much higher than those of Michigan’s other starting pitchers Ballantine and Brosnahan.

However, this number does not reflect the outstanding performance that he had on Friday. Sinnery threw 8.1 innings of shutout baseball, struck out five, and only walked one.

“Brandon Sinnery was outstanding,” Maloney said. “That’s captain leadership right there. He took the bull by the horns by himself and he ran with it. I did not want to take him out.”

Friday’s shutout gave the Wolverines the confidence boost they needed to excel throughout the rest of the weekend.

“It was a great atmosphere,” Sinnery said on Friday. “We got a lot of fans to come out which is awesome, and I think winning in front of these fans is really going to help us carry momentum.”

NOT STOPPIN’ SHORT: Some of the younger Michigan baseball players proved their strength to the team this weekend, especially freshman infielder Dylan Delaney.

Michigan coach Rich Maloney recently said that he sees a lot of budding talent in Delaney and is looking forward to further growth.

Delaney started off Friday’s game against Michigan State with a slam, getting the first run of the game and his second home run of the season.

“To give us that one-run lead right off the bat was really nice to see,” Maloney said.

Delaney picked up one RBI and two hits in Friday’s game.

“I’m just trying to get hits, get on base, move guys over,” Delaney said. “I just try to focus on what I can do for the team and be the best I can.”

Delaney also looked good in Saturday’s game, knocking in two runs for the day on two hits.

“I tried to step up a little bit more this weekend since (sophomore outfielder Michael O’Neill) was out,” Delaney said.

Delaney has steadily improved throughout the season. Despite his 0.198 average, his name is beginning to creep up the charts, toward the big hitters like freshman outfielder Will Drake, junior outfielder Patrick Biondi and O’Neill.

“I struggled a little bit at the beginning, but I’ve been working really hard and I feel like I’m a lot more confident,” Delaney said. “Hopefully we’ll get a couple more mid-week games this week and then take the end of the series.”

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